Losing Customers


There is a company that makes shaving cream. They use all the typical methods of marketing from television to social media, to print advertising.

They even advertise on NFL games. And, by the way, it’s actually pretty good shaving cream, having taken a different approach to their formula and the way it’s used.

It’s one of those products that you can buy almost everywhere.


What About The Blades?

In walking through a very large warehouse store recently, I came across a package with a razor and a number of blades that was displayed at the front of the store. 

It was made, apparently, by the shaving cream company. The blades were promoted as being titanium and made in Germany, so based on my shaving cream experience, I decided to give it a try.  And, by the way, it is a really good product.

In thinking about where I could get more blades, I looked, on the web.

Strangely enough, while I could find the package I had purchased at major facilities like Costco, Target, and Amazon, there were no replacement blades.

Not at any of the major stores, and not even on the website of the company that made the saving cream and supposedly the razor and blades.  Literally, not to be found anywhere on Google.


Think Of All The People …

Think of the many people who shop at these stores that sold them the product. 

And think of their feelings when they realize that they can’t continue to use a product that they like.

The Amazon listing for the razor package states that “It’s out of stock; we don’t know when or if it will be back.

The website of the company that supposedly made it doesn’t even acknowledge its existence.

Maybe some part of its customer base needs to find a new shaving cream as well.


One Of The Most Successful …

In looking at companies that have lost customers, we should look at a retail giant that was one of the most successful in the world, Sears.  

In fiscal 2006, a year after the merger with Kmart, Sears had revenue of $29.18 billion. 

By 2006, revenue had fallen to $14.96 billion. Operating income in 2006 was $1.32 billion and by 2015 it was a loss of $708 million.  For 2016, Sears holdings had losses of $1.6 billion.

Why did one of the most successful companies in retail history lose its way?  Because as sales declined, it began to focus on financial re-engineering instead of the market and customers. 

Jim Cramer of the CNBC show Mad Money said: “The company is being kept alive by a hedge fund manager. And that could be the core of the problem.

Other retail experts comment that management has lost the passion for products and customers. And it shows, driving away customers.


Losing Viewers & Revenue …

We have recently watched, played out on a national scale, where participants in one of the largest entities with a customer base may have begun to impact that base.

In this case, we are talking about the NFL.  In recent years, the NFL has been beset by a number of issues that have impacted those who support what has become America’s game.

Concussions and resulting long term brain injury, players behaving badly both on and off the field, and the rapidly rising price of tickets. 

These events have caused the NFL to lose viewers and those who attend games because they don’t want their children to get hooked on playing football. 

This not only impacts game attendance, but the sale of NFL memorabilia. The rising price of tickets limits those who can attend games.


A Single Player Did Not Stand …

Recently, NFL teams potentially created more damage to their future than any of the other events could have possibly done. 

In 2016, a single player elected not to stand for the National Anthem. 

While a few players joined him, it was hardly noticed by NFL fans. He indicated that he was protesting a social injustice and other than that, he had very little to say about the matter.

Certainly, the mainstream media and social media had quite a bit to say about his actions, but by and large it was a minor event.  Recently, one person made several comments regarding this protest on Twitter.

And as a result, the NFL players, coaches and owners felt the need to take sides.  And take sides they did. 

Some protesting, some not, others avoiding the situation all together by staying off the field during the anthem, and almost all of them taking Twitter positions.


Reactions Were Fast & Emotional …

And the fan’s, those NFL customers, erupted with either support or displeasure. 

Some felt that it was a matter of free speech, others, especially veterans, felt it was seriously disrespecting something that they had fought and died for.

Even these phenomenally brave fans couldn’t agree, some believing that they had fought to protect free speech, others believing that a disrespect of the anthem disrespected them. 

In any event many of these “customers” were violently angry at everyone connected with the sport and began a discussion of a boycott of the game.


The Original Protest Got Lost …

As the issue grew, a new Yahoo Finance poll found 62% of Americans plan on watching fewer NFL games following these anthem protests. 

And 32% say they will not attend a game they were planning on attending!

In the process, the original protest got lost.

Yes, those who participated tried to explain why they were taking the action they were, but once you have to explain your protest, something has gotten lost.


One Person With A Twitter Account …

All of this was generated by one person with an active Twitter account. 

And the possible economic cost of not simply ignoring that initial tweet, may be in the millions.

Every day, there are things that companies do to lose customers. 

It’s no accident that banks, airlines and cable providers lead the list of America’s worst companies, hated by their customers.

Oh yes, another company on that list is Facebook.  

Why?   Because, even though it’s free, customers hate being lied to with “fake news”.  

And, thanks to one man with a Twitter account and the fact that members of the NFL and fans felt that they had to weigh in, the NFL may be joining the list one day.


Revitalization Partners is a Northwest business advisory and restructuring management firm with a demonstrated track record of achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. And now, we’ve written a book to help our readers understand the issues facing their businesses. You can find this compilation of our business thoughts at:
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